• Member Since 16th Feb, 2012
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  • 56 weeks
    Season Eight Episode Reviews: Molt Down

    This week is a Spike episode? What a re-”molt”-ing development this is!

    Let's look at “Molt Down,” the episode that will surely be perfectly normal and have no long-lasting repercussions on a character's appearance.

    Read More

    2 comments · 804 views
  • 57 weeks
    Season Eight Episode Reviews: Break Up Break Down

    I dread going into this week's episode. For today, we discuss matters of the heart. Romance, love, heartbreak, and all that rot. Which means we run right into the most loathsome of all fandom constructs, the kind of thing that destroys friendships and leaves the most brilliant of minds curled up helplessly in a corner, foaming from the mouth:

    SHIPPING.

    Read More

    6 comments · 525 views
  • 58 weeks
    Season Eight Episode Reviews: Non-Compete Clause

    We've had a string of good episodes the last few weeks. Whether it be shapeshifting seaponies, an actual Celestia episode, or discovering Starlight's dark phase, we've had lots of fun and plenty of laughs.

    Today's episode is about Applejack and Rainbow Dash competing.

    The good times are over.

    Read More

    7 comments · 551 views
  • 59 weeks
    Season Eight Episode Reviews: The Parent Map

    Happy Cinco de Mayo, everyone who cares about that! What better way to spend the day than watching a cartoon about horses dealing with their mommy/daddy issues? Well, tough, because that's what we're doing. This is “The Parent Map.”

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    4 comments · 385 views
  • 60 weeks
    Season Eight Episode Reviews: Horse Play

    So hey, it's a new episode. Surely nothing to be excited about. Just another standard episode of a cartoon pony show.

    Only it's a CELESTIA EPISODE!

    Prepare for extra spicy biased scoring as we look at Best Princess' newest episode, “Horse Play!”

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    5 comments · 454 views
Nov
29th
2015

Season Five Wrap-Up · 1:39pm Nov 29th, 2015

So, Season Five is finally over. As we prepare to wander about aimlessly until the next season (and movie) grace us, it's time to take a look back at what has transpired this year and see what to make of it. So let's go, shall we?


The Good:

Continuity: While other seasons have had references to previous episodes, as well as a couple sequel episodes, the references, callbacks, and continuations felt much stronger here. This helped give the series more of a connected feel and presented, at least, the illusion that things were progressing for our heroines. They even referenced one of the chapter books, bringing some bits of the expanded universe closer to the main one.

Progression: Going hand-in-hand with continuity, some of the cast actually managed to advance on their goals. We had the typical episode about Rainbow Dash flying with the Wonderbolts (her "reserve" status is lessening bit by bit), but we also had Rarity finally getting her Canterlot shop (and being allowed to keep it, surprisingly), the CMC getting their cutie marks (even if it was rushed beyond all compare), and Twilight actually performing some princess duties that didn't just involve unfurling a banner or sitting and looking pretty.

Emotion: This is highly subjective, but this season seemed to hit at the emotional level more than most of the others. The show has been full of heartwarming and heartbreaking moments since day one, but several of the episodes this time around ("Amending Fences" especially) hit that core harder than what has come before. Even episodes that make no logical sense ("Crusaders of the Lost Mark") work by going for affecting the audience on an emotional level.

Fluttershy: It's odd to single out a specific character, but Fluttershy this season was largely fantastic. While still shy, nervous, and quiet, she also presented more of a sense of strength than she had in most other seasons - and even then, those previous moments were confined to her episodes. It seems that she's internalized that lesson from "It Aint Easy Being Breezies," and is now able to stand her ground when Discord tries to throw her friend into a puppet universe, or when Rainbow Dash blows up a factory to keep Tank from hibernating. It was a very good season for her overall.


The Bad:

Redeeming Villains: This season did it, and it did it badly. Discord's redemption continues to be handled poorly, and Gilda was a bit rushed outside of some solid interactions with Pinkie - who was the one that didn't need to forgive her, because Pinkie largely forgives anyone for anything. But none of that holds a candle to Starlight Glimmer, who was introduced as a cult leader out to impose her philosophy on the world, and then decided to destroy all of history (and kept planning to do so after seeing that the Mane 6 had to be together or bad things happened)...and is not only forgiven, but seems to be joining with the rest of the Mane 6.

The Map: The Cutie Map (for lack of a better term) was handled a bit better than the keys in Season Four, but it was still underutilized. After making a big deal about it in the premiere, there were only three actual map-related adventures (with a fourth episode running alongside one of those adventures), and the whole thing was hastily wrapped up with no real payoff. The Cutie Map is still around, though, so it may play a role in seasons to come.

The Finale: The season had the worst closing episode of the entire series so far, and nearly all of that is because of the last ten minutes. Before that, the finale was a goofy time-travel story of dark alternate timelines. After the reveal of Starlight's motivations, the whole thing comes crashing down. Bad form, all around.


Final Thoughts:

Overall, this season ranks just behind Season Two in terms of favorites, and would have been the best if it weren't for the critical mishandling of the finale and the dismal duo of "Princess Spike" and "What About Discord?". After a tumultuous third season and a rocky fourth, this season feels a lot more consistent, connected, and developed than the show has for a while. Most of the cast is given something to do - I can't think of any Mane 6 that felt truly left out this season, as even Applejack managed to get that precious episode that didn't involve farming or her family. As for what's to come...I don't know. If Glimmer joins the main cast, it could be good or bad. If she becomes a supporting character a la Spike and the CMC, it could be good or bad. We'll be busy killing each other over it during the hiatus, so who knows what'll happen?

I enjoyed the season, and I hope for more pony adventures when the show returns.

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Comments ( 12 )

Yeah... I have to agree that "I'm a cult leader whom wants equality because my best friend AS A FOAL was sent away to a place of higher education" thing... was pretty damn weak. Especially since it has nothing really to do with "equality", even psuedo-marxism, so much as "I hate X because this". Worst part was the musical number, though.

I liked Lost Treasure of Griffonstone, but for me, that was the highlight. *shrug* Starlight Glimmer gets a pass, and it more than kinda bug me, too.

3577713 Actually, the equality bit make a little more sense with her backstory. She lost her friend because he became more important than her when he got his mark. This instilled a desire to create a place in which they were all friends, and noone was better just because of their cutiemarks. It might have even worked... except for the whole brainwashing and magically removing marks thing.

Honestly, it's not their fault that the episodes only run like about 20 minutes each, they can't fit EVERYTHING into the finale. Twilight is not someone that would take the life out from a villain, she either allows them to be punished, or reformed. Starlight isn't a Tirek or Sombra-like villain, she's a pony, and deep down, she's no different from any other ponies.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

Wait, joining the mane cast? O.o I honestly don't expect to see Starlight Glimmer ever again.

I second all of IAH's points in this post.

3577813
Big Jim Miller has apparently enthusiastically Tweeted about Starlight Glimmer being his 'new paradigm' for the show. That management-speak phrase fills me and others with dreadful images of executive-mandated character surgery and imposed changes to 'freshen up' the show.

3577839
Utterly insane direction to go.
Rushed half baked heel-face turn (Quite a few this season.).
Making a new character instead of utilizing preexisting characters of similar nature.
Trixie as a new regular? Sunset as a new regular?
Both designed to be Twilight rivals, both with infinitely better development.
This sums up the biggest fail.
derpicdn.net/img/2015/11/28/1032122/large.png

I absolutely ADORED the first part of the finale
The time travel, alternate universes, etc.
However, I agree with you on how TERRIBLE starlight's reformation was
i feel like this season is trying to turn all antagonists good, and that is just bull crap.

Before that, the finale was a goofy time-travel story of dark alternate timelines. After the reveal of Starlight's motivations, the whole thing comes crashing down. Bad form, all around.

Couldn't agree more. It's a fun finale, so long as you don't think about it too hard, but then the last ten minutes come in and fuck everything up. Definitely left a bad taste in my mouth. :pinkiesick:

I really wish they'd cut the shit with the villain reforming, because while they were somewhat graceful about it with Trixie and Gilda, Starlight and Diamond Tiara really got awful excuses for their evilness, and they were forgiven so quickly and easily. :ajbemused:

Yeah, that Starlight reformation could have definitely been executed better but how else was it going to end after we saw her "tragic backstory"? This show is about friendship and how powerful it is, ending the finale with the angry friendless antagonist gaining friendship and a second chance is absolutely what this show would do. They have a whole season next year to develop it and have it make sense. I just don't understand the vitrol.

Forgive me if I overstep my bounds a bit, but Sunset Shimmer as your avatar kind of lessens the impact of your criticism of Starlight's admittedly hasty redemption. Starlight's reasons for her power grab (feeling alone and isolated after her friend left and not wanting anyone else to feel that way) were much less vain and petty than Sunset's (Princess Celestia refused to give her the power of a god, oh boo hoo). Not only that, but Sunset knowingly wanted to cause pain and suffering to the majority of Equestria (with her half-assed army of teenage zombies), while Starlight thought her actions only hurt Twilight and her friends. After all, it is kind of unbelievable that the fate of Equestria should rest so much on just six ponies (Starlight and Twilight both lampshade this). At the end of the day, though, it was refreshing that Starlight was willing to seek redemption without 'harmony magic' (read: orbital friendship mind-control device) making her do it. Starlight was a much more sympathetic character than Sunset was at first. Don't get me wrong, I love Sunny from the way they expanded on her character in the later movies, and I look forward to them doing the same for Starlight in Season 6.

Bottom line: Don't be such a brony.

3577997

Admittedly, a lot of it is because it just happened. As Sunset Shimmer showed, a flawed redemption moment can lead to some good stuff down the line as they work with that character. It's just a matter of the show doing something with her next season.

Plus, you know, we have to wait until next season to see what the impact on the show, if any, will be. The implications that Starlight will be joining the Mane 6 (which may or may not be true, we can't tell), which could potentially shift the dynamics of the group, elevates this to basically another Twilicorn. Still, most of the fears of that one have not gone to pass, and Season Six will not be coming off of a half-season, so hopefully things will work out.

I guess we'll just have to see what happens next season.

(Also note that "implications" refers to the tweets about the group paradigm and the - possibly fake - book synopsis leak calling Starlight Glimmer Twilight's "student." Note that the leak may be fake, as has happened with that supposed "Twilight and Flash Sentry get married at the end of Season Four/Five" nonsense, and the tweets be the staff trolling us, as they have done before.)

At the very least, Spike was in top form in the finale.

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